acupuncture, fertility, herbal medicine, IVF, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Can acupuncture enhance your fertility and support your pregnancy?

Pregnant belly kissHere’s a little guest piece I wrote for the Endeavour College of Natural Health Wellnation Clinics, How can Chinese Medicine enhance your fertility?

Helping men and women with fertility and those subsequent pregnancies is one of my favourite areas of practice, and one that I have studied intensively and had a lot of experience in treating with acupuncture and natural medicine treatment (whether it’s pre-conception care, assisting a patient with polycystic ovarian syndrome or low sperm count, or supporting a patient through IVF).

If you wish to have a baby, are having difficulty in conceiving or are looking for supportive care in pregnancy, please contact me. I’d be happy to assist you with your journey.

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

Diet, food, food allergy, herbal medicine, recipe

Make your own delicious Chinese tea eggs

Tea eggs finished product

Yes, Chinese tea eggs.

Just imagine something like a boiled egg soaked in soy sauce with a blend of black tea and spices similar to those used to make chai. And I do love chai.

Okay. That does sound weird but I assure you that these eggs are delicious. And they’re great in winter as the spices add a warming energy to the eggs.

Another ingredient in these eggs is tangerine/mandarin/citrus peel. You can make your own dried citrus peel if you like. In Chinese Medicine we refer to the peel as ‘chen pi’ and it’s used to resolve a condition known as ‘food stagnation’. That is, when you over eat or feel like you’ve got food stuck in your stomach that moves slowly. Chen pi is a good accompaniment to rich food to aid digestion.

I also substituted the soy sauce for gluten free tamari.

These tasty, protein-rich treats are often made for Chinese New Year but why not have them all year round?

Here’s the recipe I use.

And here is a photo journey of making my tea eggs:

Tea eggs boiling
Boil the eggs only for 3 minutes. Afterwards gently crack the shells without breaking through them.
Tea eggs spices
Prepare your spices, and put aside some soy sauce and a touch of sugar.
Tea eggs boiling spices
Add the spices and soy sauce to the water with the eggs with their cracked shells, then boil and simmer.
Tea eggs finished product
After soaking the eggs for at least 2 hours you can peel the eggs. The longer you soak the eggs the darker the marbling effect on the egg whites will be!

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

aromatherapy, health, herbal medicine

The delight of organic lavender and rosehip oils for scar healing

lavender fieldJust before I went in for my hip arthroscopy, I received a gorgeous package of two new oils on the market. The couple who sent them, David & Melanie Dane, used to own Sunspirit Aromatherapy and have ventured back into the oils business as Free Spirit Group, scouring the world for producers of high therapeutic grade, organic products and have brought two new oils into Australia. And luckily for me both of these oils are regarded as excellent skin healers, perfect for scar repair from my keyhole surgery. I religiously used them on my little incisions from my surgery with good effect. Plus they were also delightful to use.

Modern aromatherapy was discovered in France when a chemist burnt his hand badly and dipped it into the first vat of liquid he found – lavender oil! He was very impressed with his fast healing.

Of course these oils have many other therapeutic uses, you can read about them via the links below. If you’re looking for good quality, certified organic oils that are ethically sourced and produced, read the fascinating stories about these products:

You can buy them online here. (BTW I don’t get kick backs for these – I just think these are excellent products from a company that is worth sharing.)

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

Diet, food, health, herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Tea and you: brewing it, enjoying it & getting the health benefits

tea oolong cup
A delicious oolong tea known as Big Red Robe from the MayKing Tea range.

I really love tea so it’s no surprise that I snapped up an opportunity to do a tea appreciation course through Bright Learning with tea educator and enthusiast, May King Tsang (founder of MayKing Tea). With British Chinese heritage, May King brought the traditional English white and two sugar lovers and the green tea purists together giving us a lesson in making good tea (from picking the tea leaves, brewing them well and then appreciating them) as well as teaching us about some of the styles of tea, their flavour characteristics, health benefits, some tea-tech-talk, all while we enjoyed several cups of very tasty, good quality, loose leaf tea.

Here’s 10 things you may or may not know to ponder while you sip your cup of tea:

  1. Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant with Chinese and Indian varietals. Herbals (eg. chamomile and peppermint) and rooibos are technically not tea as they come from different plants and are more correctly known as infusions, although we all call them teas anyway due to the preparation method.
  2. There are six types of tea: white, green, yellow, oolong, black and pu-erh. They are all made with the same tea plant but the leaves that are used, oxidisation and processing methods vary for each one. White and green teas are less oxidised than black teas are. White teas are made with just the bud and two first leaves from the branch. As tea leaves are oxidised they become sweeter (although this is only to a point and then they are more bittersweet like dark chocolate).

    MayKing Tea's delicate, white tea called 'white peony'.
    MayKing Tea’s delicate, white tea called ‘white peony’.
  3. Antioxidants are not only found in white and green teas. All tea leaves contain antioxidants and the content is much of a muchness between the six types of tea, so drink the type of tea you like best.
  4. Tea leaves do contain more caffeine than coffee beans per gram of raw material. However less tea leaves are used in making a cup of tea so there is actually less caffeine in a cup of tea than a cup of coffeeBlack tea does contain the most caffeine of the tea types, there is less in green tea and less again in most white tea. A type of white tea known as ‘silver needle’ contains a high level of caffeine as it is made with only the bud at the tip of the tea plant branch, and caffeine is more highly concentrated in these leaves. A Japanese style of tea known as matcha also has a high level of caffeine. Caffeine gives tea a ‘Yang’ property and l-theanine gives tea it’s ‘Yin’ relaxing, mood-enhancing property. This is why Asian and British cultures consider most problems can be fixed with a “nice sit down and a good cup of tea.” Choose the type of tea that you need according to your taste, mood, energy and the time of day.
  5. Tea can be flavoured by having herbs added to it (think Moroccan Mint green tea – which is actually a traditional Chinese blend that traveled with the spice trade). Tea leaves can also be flavoured by having herbs placed with the fresh pickings and infused under the sun for several days, the herbs are then removed so your brew is only made with the flavoured tea leaves. Some highly valued jasmine green teas are made this way. Some teas are ‘enhanced’ with artificial flavours so make sure to read the labels.

    MayKing Tea's osmanthus oolong tea. I loved this one, it reminded of my boat trip down the Li River in Guangxi.
    MayKing Tea’s osmanthus oolong tea. I loved this one, it reminded of my boat trip down the Li River in Guangxi.
  6. The water temperature required varies depending on the type of tea you are making. And you don’t need a fancy kettle or thermometer to measure this. Use fresh water (pH 7 is ideal) in the kettle each time and study the bubbles in the water level gauge to get the right temperature for the leaves you are using. Generally white and green teas need cooler water (70-80°C) and oolong, black and herbals need hotter water (around 90°C+). Here’s a guide to the temperature and bubble size to expect for each type of tea.
  7. Tea bags don’t contain the ‘sweepings from the factory floor’ but they aren’t usually made with excellent quality tea leaves either. Tea quality is best judged by examining the tea leaf itself so this is a reason to buy loose leaf tea. Also the more times a tea leaf has been cut, the darker your brew will be. The new triangular shape tea bags doing the rounds now often do contain better quality leaves than regular tea bags however they are usually made from a ‘plastic silken gauze’ which doesn’t biodegrade well, so not an environmentally friendly choice.
  8. You can leave your tea leaves to infuse in a white or green tea for about 3 minutes. Black and oolong teas can stay in contact with the leaves for as long as you like. The infuser size is considered to best if smaller for black teas and larger for green teas.
  9. Medicinally, in Chinese medicine, we consider that tea is slightly bitter-sweet, cooling to the body and benefits the Heart, Liver, Stomach, Bladder and Large Intestine channels. White and green teas are the most cooling and black teas are warmer. Tea is considered to be useful taken at the start of a ‘hot’ common cold, to assist in the digestion of heavy, rich and fatty foods, for scanty urination or taken as a strong brew for diarrhoea.
  10. It is considered that in brewing your cup of tea a process termed the ‘agony of the leaf‘ occurs: there will be a ‘tumble between the leaf and the water’ to produce that wonderful ‘liquor’ we know as tea.

    A delicious cup of osmanthus oolong tea.
    A delicious cup of osmanthus oolong tea.

Here’s more on tea and happiness, how to make corn silk ‘tea’ infusion and how to make chai.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

acupuncture, fertility, herbal medicine, pregnancy, Traditional Chinese Medicine

The role of change in fertility treatment

My great friend and excellent Chinese medicine practitioner, Peter Kington, has written his piece on ‘change’ for The Health and Happiness Collective blog hop today.

Peter shares his experience about where lifestyle, diet, acupuncture and herbal medicine changes are necessary on the fertility journey. While some of these changes are easier than others, I completely agree with Peter’s ideas here – this is also my experience in helping my fertility patients too. We want to give you the support you need to make changes which will enhance the likelihood of a healthier pregnancy, a healthier baby and to recover better from your birth.

Read Peter’s excellent post: Change and the Fertile Body.

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbal medicine, motivational

The Health & Happiness Collective

Hopping along and sharing the good words just like Kermit the Frog

Folks, I have exciting news!

I’ve just joined up with a group of some of Australia’s best acupuncturists, naturopaths, aromatherapists and horticulturalists to share our collective knowledge with you!

We’re called The Health & Happiness Collective and we’re doing a blog hop.

A what?!

A blog hop is an event. It means that each blogger from The Health & Happiness Collective will share some of their knowledge and experience through their blog in the next few weeks. We’re all going to write on the same topic so you are going to get a range of different viewpoints to stimulate your mind and bring you good health and happiness  in line with our theme.

The theme for our very first blog hop is:

CHANGE

When each blogger writes, I’m going to let you know so you can get on over and read what these brilliant people have to say.

Here’s a quick preview of the clever people (and their blogs) who form The Health & Happiness Collective:

 

We’re really excited to bring this blog hop to you. Get ready to explore ‘change’ in a health and happiness context.

But before we share, what thoughts and emotions come to mind for you on the topic of change? Use the comments section to share your responses.

And I’ll leave you with this great quote:

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

Diet, food, food allergy, herbal medicine, recipe, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Make your own Vietnamese rice paper rolls

IMG_1734We’ve been experiencing some sky high temperatures in Brisbane this summer, with more to come. Now, Chinese medicine usually frowns upon a large intake of raw and cold temperature foods but on days like today fresh, raw food is incredibly cooling and refreshing. If you want to know more about how to live well in Summer (including some cooling tips) click here.

So, I’ve been making some vegetarian rice paper rolls. These can be easily adapted to include the vegies that you like best – you can use my recipe just as a suggestion. My rice paper rolls recipe is vegetarian but you can substitute the tofu for organic chicken or duck if that is your preference.

Cucumber, lettuce and mint are considered to be thermally cold in Chinese medicine and that’s exactly why we’re using them on such a hot day. I like to team them up with some warming herbs including basil and coriander and a sauce that includes some fresh grated ginger and chilli to support the spleen and stomach (digestive system) with the extra burden of harder to digest raw food. So pay attention to your own body folks, and adjust the amount of raw food you eat that makes you feel well. Those with weak digestive systems or a tendency to ‘feel the cold’ would most likely do well to limit the raw food.

But back to the rice paper rolls (and they are gluten and dairy-free too) – here’s the recipe:

Vegetarian rice paper rolls

Ingredients

Vary the ingredient quantities to make the amount of rolls that you require. It’s easy to prepare some more salad ingredients as you go if you run short.

  • Rice papers (round, Vietnamese ones) – you’ll need 2 per finished roll
  • Lettuce leaves, medium size (can be fancy lettuces – mix it up with some different colours and varieties)
  • Carrot, grated
  • Cucumber, thinly sliced and about 10cm long
  • Yellow capsicum, thinly sliced. (Optional)
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Tofu, pre-fried. Cut into thin slices.
  • Mint leaves, about 3-5 per roll
  • Basil leaves, 2-4 per roll
  • Coriander leaves, sliced and sprinkle on each roll. (Optional)

Method

  1. Add some warm water to a large bowl.
  2. Soak a rice paper in the water for a few seconds and place on a clean, flat surface. Repeat with another rice paper and place it on top of the first rice paper.
  3. Lie a lettuce leaf in the half closest to you on the rice paper.
  4. Then top with some carrot,  cucumber and capsicum. IMG_1715
  5. Add on top the avocado and tofu slices. IMG_1716
  6. Then place a few mint, basil and coriander leaves on top. IMG_1717
  7. Roll the rice paper end that is closest to you over the top squeezing the ingredients in tightly*. Roll away from you and tuck the sides in before you have finished rolling it up.IMG_1720
  8. Repeat until you have made as many rice paper rolls as you desire. You can then serve them whole or slice them in half on an angle.  IMG_1724

*When you first start making these it will take a few attempts to get the filling quantity and rolling technique right, but once you have it these are easy to make.

A quick dipping sauce can be made with a dash of tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), sweet chilli sauce, rice wine vinegar and freshly grated ginger. Set the quantities to suit your own taste.IMG_1729

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.